The 4th grade students had a strong showing at this year's science fair. It was very tough to determine the winners! Congratulations to Maya Howard 1st place, Leah Marr 2nd place, Lakshanya Gopinath 3rd place. The 4th grade class projects can be viewed on the slideshow on the blog's home page.
To help kick off our Thanksgiving week celebrations the students created roller coasters/slides from paper plates for a cranberry to travel down. Each group could use up to 8 paper plates and some masking tape. Many groups found that the oblong shape of the fresh cranberry was more challenging to work with to roll down the roller coaster/slide than they anticipated. This challenged the students to think about the shape of the track, how gravity effects motion, slope, and safety features of real life roller coasters and slides. The most valuable part was the post discussion about the challenges faced by people whose career it is to design things like playground equipment and theme park rides.
Since the last lesson focused on the science behind how a drop of water moves throughout the earth, I decided to bring some engineering into the next lesson. Each group of three was given a piece of waxed paper that was four feet long and four inches wide and four inches of tape. They then had to use their entire piece of waxed paper as a track for a drop of water. Each group had to engineer their track in a way that would cause the drop of water to move from start to finish the fastest. They were very creative in engineering the tracks! It was a great lesson to tie math into. They used stop watches to record the amount of time it took the drop to travel the track to the nearest hundredth of a second. Then they had to compare the times (decimal numbers) to determine first, second, third place.
I had a guest presenter from Cobb County Water come and do a lesson on the water cycle with the 4th grade classes. They traveled around to different locations as a drop of water in order to collect beads which they they used to tell their "story." It was a great way for them to explore how water moves from one place to another.
The students learned about the post and lintel design for structures and were then given 40 pipe cleaners to create a structure that was at least 4 in. tall and would hold a wooden block on top without falling over. It sounded way easier than it actually was!